In Travel

‘Mysterious And Seriously Cool’: Inside Melbourne’s Latest Luxury Hotel

Melbourne’s newest luxury hotel, Shadowplay by Peppers, is yet another drawcard for the Southbank precinct. Edwin, the stylish wine bar and restaurant located adjacent to reception on the ground floor, adds a new destination for food and wine buffs living in or visiting one of Melbourne’s most sought after residential and recreational areas.

Interiors designed by Hecker Guthrie manage to create a special moment for guests as they enter Shadow Play from City Road. Like stepping from the wings onto a theatre’s stage, the lights are dim and curtains screen the guests from the outside world.

Shadowplay by Peppers

Image: Shadowplay by Peppers

The path to reception is via a long winding ramp which snakes around and delivers patrons to the check-in desk. Sheer dark drapes make the space feel mysterious and seriously cool. The hipster element is there, in the chirpy staff and little touches like the welcome drinks in glass dispensers on the front counter. Guests can help themselves to either water or sangria.

This glass building right next to the city’s cultural and arts precinct, designed by Jonathan Hallinan of BPM and Ellenberg Fraser architects, is moody and ambient. The theme of ‘shadowplay’ infuses every aspect of the property.

Hallways are painted in dark tones and sensor lights illuminate them as guests enter different spaces. By the pool, screens outline the shadows of spiky pot plants as the sun sets orange over the city. At regular intervals around the building, huge photographs hang, artworks by Georges Antoni. Mesmerisingly, they extend the shadow play theme with hovering, almost ominous images of clouds.

Peppers’ second Melbourne CBD property owns 70 apartments in the building and shares some specially designed facilities with over a hundred residential apartments. The indoor ‘winter garden’ on level 46 is a place to rest between the living green walls. The fireplace hanging from the roof is the centrepiece of the garden and the view sweeps over Port Phillip Bay, stunning by day or night.

Also on this level, but looking out to the CBD, are two private function rooms for hire. A night spot is set to add even more appeal later in the year.

Lower down on the ninth floor, and with a different view altogether, the sprawling, serene library is furnished with generous sofas like daybeds and has intimate spaces for working or reading. This library is a place where guests can linger with a drink and read, write, work or think about the world.

Shadowplay by Peppers

Image: Shadowplay by Peppers

Also on level nine is the steam room, sauna, outdoor heated pool and gym. Melbourne weather does not always invite water activities but for those dedicated to their routines, the pool is there.

The collection of one and two bedroom suites has crisp, contemporary furnishings with plush, luxurious carpet throughout. The floor to ceiling drapes block out light and linen is all white with charcoal bedhead to match curtains and floor. Double glazing keeps out the street noise, despite the view of freeways from the window and indoor/outdoor balcony.

Surprisingly, in a hotel for long and short stay travellers, the bathroom space is minimal. Two people definitely can’t brush their teeth at the same time and there is no bench space for toiletries. Appelles products look lovely all piled up on the floating shelf, but there is nowhere to put the soap except the little ridge on the back of the sink.

Shadowplay by Peppers

Image: Shadowplay by Peppers

The mini bar is the real hero of the room. Its contents are all locally sourced Victorian products. The Four Pillars gin, Emma and Tom’s muesli bars and coffee from Clarke St all show off the state’s finest artisanal cuisine. I’m extra impressed to see a Frank Green takeaway coffee cup. Encouraging their guests to be sustainable demonstrates that not only does the Accor group think locally but they are addressing increasingly important sustainability and waste issues.

These concepts guide the restaurant’s contemporary menu too. Chef Ritesh Patil extends the Victorian-only produce theme through to the restaurant. Sardines from Port Philip Bay, slow-cooked Gippsland lamb, Yarra Valley Brie and housemade bread and pastries are par for the course here.

Edwin wine bar, the only venue in the world to offer guests an exclusively Victorian sourced wine list, has 101 wines available. Yu Kurosawa, one of Australia’s rising star sommeliers, serves each glass with a brief speech about the winemaker and the region in which it was made. Victoria’s diversity will certainly impress interstate and international visitors. From July, Edwin Bar will begin Thursday night wine tasting sessions in the private cellar with a rotating cast of award-winning Victorian regional winemakers.

Shadow Play by Peppers is an excellent addition to the Melbourne hospitality scene. Whether in town for a meeting, an exhibition, a sporting or cultural event, or for leisure, this luxurious new hotel is an exciting choice.

The writer was a guest of Shadow Play by Peppers.

(Lead image: Shadowplay By Peppers lounge)

Published 16 July, 2019